Well, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to ALL Moms out there!

Please take time today and let your Mother know how much you appreciate her.

I was with my parents yesterday, knowing that I would not see them today.

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Hebrews 11 - Noah

[Slide]
7 By faith Noah,
when warned about things not yet seen,
in holy fear built an ark to save his family.

By his faith he condemned the world
and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.


The story of Noah contains so many rabbit trails...

I am going to focus on just three things:
- God's justice
- God's mercy
- Noah's faith

Let's read Genesis 6 to get the story of WHY God tells Noah to build the Ark:

[Slide]

5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of mankind had become on the earth,

and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

6 The Lord regretted that He had made mankind on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.

7 So the Lord said,
"I will wipe these people from the face of the earth that I have created...for I regret that I have made them."

Genesis 6:5-7

This is perhaps one of the saddest texts in the whole Bible to me.

God regretted that He had created human beings.

The text speaks in superlatives:
EVERY inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was ONLY evil ALL the time.

The story of the flood speaks of God's justice.
God is LOVE...and He is full of mercy.

But that does not mean that He will always look the other way when people go against His will habitually.

[Slide]
If you have never read C.S. Lewis,
"The Great Divorce," I highly recommend it.

It is the story of Humanity seeking a divorce from God.

It is a fascinating description of Hell.
But not a Hell where God condemns people to suffer and that they cannot escape.

CS Lewis depicts Hell as a place where the door is locked from the inside.

People can leave anytime they want...
It is a treatise on the free will of man.
Lewis paints what I think is a brilliant picture of how stubborn people can be.

The people in Hell are living in a dim, dull and depressing place...

But their stubborn pride keeps them there.
They cannot seem to muster enough humility to admit their faults....

And so they choose to stay in Hell.

[Slide]
This story of Noah and the flood reminds me of the famous FX Series, "Sons of Anarchy."

It is a violent and very graphic series...I do not recommend it.

Many times I would lay in bed after watching an episode and pray....

Telling God how depressing and sad life must be -- for Him...
to watch a depiction of what I KNOW is happening EVERY DAY with SOME people around the world.

"God, how can you stand it?"

He sees it ALL!!!
He sees every cold-blooded murder...every savage act perpetrated against innocent people.

Yet, He seems to keep love and compassion...
Here is the Mercy of God

God has the inner strength to continue to love stubborn people.
He continues to seek the lost and urge His people to love others.

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The people who died in the flood did not cease to exist...

[Slide]
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins,
the righteous for the unrighteous,
that he might bring us to God...
[after He died]
19 ...he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison
20 who formerly did not obey,
when God's patience waited in the days of Noah...

        1 Peter 3:18-20

This is a strange and interesting verse in 1 Peter and it brings up more questions than it answers...

There are a lot of weeds we could get into here...
But we do not have the time.
I am happy to entertain questions at the end or speak privately with anyone if you have questions.

The text does, however, speak to those who were killed in the flood because they were disobedient.

And this text speaks of God's great mercy.

But for our purpose...
Noah found favor with the Lord.
God was working justice AND mercy at the same time.

Let's Pray.

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PRAYER
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[13 min]

Noah is interesting because, like other characters in the Faith Hall of Fame, he was not perfect.

He sinned and made some mistakes....
yet he is in the Faith Hall of Fame.

The writer of Hebrews says:
"when he was warned about things not yet seen,
he built an ark."

God told Noah a great rain was coming...and a flood that would destroy everything.

And the text says
"Noah did everything God told him to do."

THIS IS FAITH.
This is why Noah is an example.

He built a huge ocean liner out in a field somewhere.

We do not know how long it took to build...

I'm sure it took him years.
His sons probably helped...
His grandsons probably helped...
and he probably hired some other men to help him.

But it must have taken years.

People would ask him:
"What are you building?"

"A big house...that can float on water."

"But there's not enough water around here for a boat this huge!
This is cray-cray....
This is CRAZY."

I can imagine that Noah took a lot of grief from people - what he did looked crazy.

He was deemed righteous and a man of faith because he did what God asked him to do.

It seemed crazy, but he just obeyed.
THIS IS FAITH.

You have heard me say things like this over and over in the last several months.

God is not expecting you to live this life of faith perfectly -
He KNOWS you are going to fail at points...

He understands our weakness - that we are going to sin.

But He is looking for men and women who will seek Him.
People who will trust Him...listen for His voice...
and just do what He tells them.

We get stuck because we get it in our heads that we CANNOT do it right.

I can tell you that in my life God has asked me to do some things that seemed crazy.

And I proved to Him early on that I was willing to stand out in the crowd and do things that were kind of crazy....because I desperately want to be a man that God can count on.

I could tell you all kinds of crazy things I have done...
and God showed up.

But I can also tell you crazy things I did, because I felt like God told me to say or do it...

And it appeared that I was wrong.
It seemed like a failure.

I think Noah figured this HUGE houseboat was being built so a hundred or more people could join him.

The book of Jubilees says that his grandsons and their wives were caught up in the wickedness of the day.

They MAY have helped him build the ark.
I feel certain that Noah pleaded with his extended family to join him.

But other than his wife...and his sons and their wives, nobody else joined them.

Years of sharing with people about the coming flood...
Pleading with people to save themselves from God's coming judgement...
And only 5 converts. What a failure.

It appears that Noah and his sons could not even convince his grandchildren to join them.

------------

FAITH is not always SUCCESS.

FAITH is all about YOU being FAITHFUL.
Just do what you think God has asked you to do.

Is it always easy? NO.
Does it always seem to work out? No.
Will you make mistakes? YES.


Many times in my life I have felt like God has told me to do something...

I did it...and it seemed to fail.

I felt stupid.
Many times He told me to do something and...my personality - I stopped everything and just did it.

God told me what, but I failed to wait for the HOW?

I think I still do that.

But God knows my heart.
And He knows your heart.

It is not about success or failure.
It is about a willingness...wanting to be faithful.
Trying to do your best.

We worry about what others might think about us.
It's difficult, but we cannot let that stop us.

Samuel was a great man of God.
Called by God to lead the Israelites.
But they wanted a king...
So in a way, he failed.

Jeremiah the prophet spoke about God's coming judgement.

He was persecuted for his messages, arrested and thrown into an empty well for a prison.

After his prophecies that God's judgement was coming he fled with other Jews to Egypt.

The traditions record that one day in the streets he must have been confronted with his messages...
He was stoned to death by an angry mob of Jews who had fled God's judgement.

They probably blamed Jeremiah.

Think about all that the apostle Paul went through:
- beaten with rods
- stoned at least once
- arrested and thrown in prison several times


Faith does not always = Success.

God is calling us to FAITHFULNESS.

We need to be willing to take a stand for what is right...

Even if or when it costs us.
That is FAITH.

God help us to be men and women of faith.

Let's PRAY.

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Troy Community Church
Christian Fellowship
1300 Henderson Highway
Troy, AL 36079